by Kirby Lindsay, posted 6 March 2013
The Fremont Chamber of Commerce mission – to strengthen the business climate and improve the quality of life in Fremont – gives the organization a collective view. For 2013, and specifically at its February meeting, the Chamber Board has shifted its focus to membership, and individual member activities appeared to come up more than usual.
Major Events/Fremont Fair
Memberships did, however, share the stage at the meeting with the 2013 Fremont Fair on June 21st – 23rd. Phil Megenhardt, of Bold Hat Productions, produces the Fair on behalf of the Chamber, and he attended the Seattle Special Events Committee (SEC) meeting on the permits for the 25th Annual Fremont Arts Council Solstice Parade.
For this year, the Parade will take place on Saturday, June 22nd, at 3p – a change from its traditional start time of Noon. The reason for the change is the Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon scheduled for that morning, and the expected traffic tie-ups both events will cause.
At the SEC, which brings City department representatives together with event organizers, the resources needed to mitigate the potential problems were discussed. However, the METRO representative stated that rather than provide additional bus service for Fremont that weekend, he’s not sure they can provide even regular service, with buses getting stuck in congestion along with all other traffic.
According to Megenhardt, the SEC representatives also brought up issues about the painted naked Cyclists that ride before the Parade. They raised concerns about the vast numbers of cyclists that participate, and the traffic problems raised as the arrive from all sections and roads from all over the City. The large presence of cyclists has required earlier street closures, and the SEC asked for some organization for the path cyclists take to the Parade.
Megenhardt plans a marketing program to educate people on easy ways to reach the Fair, and he has asked the Board to remind people that while the Parade will start at 3p on Saturday, June 22nd, the Fair will open at 11a that day!
Members & Membership
Executive Director Jessica Vets reported that the Chamber currently had 258 paid members, with 81 paying at the Premier level. She also reported that 49 members are past due, and 312 businesses are listed as past members. One member company, Dunn Lumber, decided not to renew in 2013 due to economic concerns. A member since the Chamber started in 1982, the Board voted to bestow a one-year, honorary membership on the landmark company.
The Board also discussed the ‘Cheers To Chambers Business Expo,’ which garnered a few new members who chose to join to get a discount on display fees. The gathering, to be held Thursday, March 21st at Emmanuel Bible Church, from 4:30p – 6:30p, will be free to attendees. Area organizations and businesses will showcase their products and services at the Expo. Vets did request, “help, help, help!” from volunteers, for assistance with set-up and tear-down. Contact her at email@example.com or 206/632-1500.
When it came to memberships, Vets acknowledged that the many Chamber initiatives attract a lot of new members. With her assistant, Victoria Dzenis, Vets has placed a new, “focus on retention.” With more accurate billing, and follow through on dues payments, they’ve been able to track memberships better.
With a goal to exceed 300 membership in 2013, the Chamber Executive Committee recommended an incentive program for Vets and Dzenis. Chamber President Ken Saunderson described the program which pays a percentage based on the number of paid members in the Chamber at the end of 2013. The Board approved the incentive program as presented.
A Variety of Member Activities
Throughout the meeting, the Chamber Board mentioned member activities and adventures including:
- Literacy Source Executive Director (and long-time Chamber Board Member,) Anne Helmholz, has decided to retire. Her replacement, Lynn Livesley, came to say, ‘Hello!’, and both issued an invite to a reception for the non-profit on March 14th from 5:30p – 8p at the Lake Washington Rowing Club
- The Grand Opening for the new Fremont Branch of HomeStreet Bank was to be held on February 27th, and included a donation to Solid Ground…
- Also, the annual fundraising luncheon for Solid Ground will take place on on April 5th, from Noon – 1:30p. The luncheon is free, and the Chamber likes to fill several tables. Those willing to write a check are encouraged to reserve a seat with Vets at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vets then asked the Board for support for a proposed BBQ Competition organized by Peter Glick, owner of Roxy’s Diner/The Backdoor @ Roxy’s/Pete’s Fremont Fire Pit, for June 2nd – to benefit the FAC. The Board responded enthusiastically, as to be expected at the mention of quality BBQ…
The Chamber discussed many other items including the Districts Now! petitioning campaign, painting art on signal boxes, Valentine’s distributed by PCC on behalf of the Chamber, and the upcoming, all-day Wiffle Ball Tournament on September 7th. To find out more about the Chamber, its members, and the Board, consider attending the next Board meeting on Wednesday, March 27th at 8a at History House.
Or, visit the ‘Cheers To Chambers Expo’ on March 21st at Emmanuel Bible Church from 4:30p – 6:30p. Both events are free to attend, but one requires less early morning enthusiasm and energy!
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©2013 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.